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The Adventures of Daniel B.

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Daniel B.'s Comment
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During this previous load I actually met up with a guy who was in my orientation class with me. I totally forgot to mention this, but its pretty important.

This guy was foreign, not sure what exactly. He understand and spoke English well but it wasn't his first language. He sometimes has trouble understanding things. I can understand where hes coming from, English wasn't my first language either.

I met up with him just before I met up with Bill. He saw me at the Pilot in Stanfield, OR and was honking at me. After I backed up we both got to chatting. And as always, he had a million questions. No problem!

Here at Prime, we are required to report our APU hours weekly. This guy was months into Prime and he still didn't know how. He told me he kept bothering his DM about it. We both have the same DM, Lance. And as a side note, I asked my DM how I was doing overall about three weeks into Prime and he said great, but he also said that he didn't think the others would make it - including this guy.

So I figured it out and showed him how to check it. We talked some more after and more questions. When we split, I sent my DM a message saying *I wont reveal his identity*

"Hey Lance, I met up with the guy in my orientation class. Truck #XXXXXX. Apparently he didn't know how to check his APU hours so I showed him how. He should stop bugging you about it."

My DM replied:

"(His Name) im guessing. Now just teach him to slow down a bit."

I replied:

"Ok will do. He has lots of questions. I'll be sure to incorporate that into an answer."

And it was over. I went to take a shower and came back and we talked more. I got the guy to open up to me about how he drives. He told me get averages 6.5 MPG weekly. Which is horrible, I average 7.75 and above. I told him I was in top 3 of the fleet a few weeks ago, he didn't believe me.

He even told me that our DM told him that he must improve and that he's doing terrible on his MPG. I asked him how he drove. He had all the wrong habits!

He used cruise control at 61mph.

He was above 1400 rpms while on cruise control.

He used cruise control on mountains.

He wasn't aware that he should avoid over-revving.

Well, it took 30 minutes. But I think I made him rethink how he drives.

I sent another message to my DM saying:

"I guarantee you he will have better MPG next week!"

My DM replied:

"Excellent, you're training already"

I replied:

" Yeah, hopefully in time he will improve a lot. Makes our fleet look bad and maybe one day he will be one less driver you have to babysit."

My DM replied:

"Oh for sure."

And that was that. Then I went off on my own business to go so Bill.

I slept the night at the receiver and next morning I got my preplan going to IL. I sent my DM a message saying:

"I'm assuming you want me to drop this load at CHDSLC for hometime?"

He replied:

"Sure, I think I missed your hometime. What day did you want to be there?"

He forgot about my hometime! Folks, there is a reason why I am including our conversations within my journals. This is huge, he forgot my hometime!

Think about it. The average driver would rant and yell at him about this. This is the most perfect time to distinguish yourself from the rest of the gang.

In this case, be polite. He's human, he makes mistakes.

I replied:

"No problem man, the 9th - if you can."

My DM replied:

"10 4. By the way, you forgot to wake up (foreign guy name here) so he can make his delivery on time :)."

LOL! He is telling me that I forgot to wake up that foreign guy so he can deliver his load on time. Looks like he overslept.

But my DM is joking obviously.

Let me elaborate on what just happened. My DM made a huge mistake forgetting my hometime.

I could have blasted him. Called his supervisor. Whatever.

Instead, I was chill about it and said no problem.

Folks, things don't always go your way. And when they dont, how you respond is one of the most important things you can do. Attitude is everything. My DM even gave me a joke back at me after all of that, which shows his comfortability and happiness with me.

Attitude is everything. I mean it. It can make or break you. Your DM is your life. He controls your wallet and happiness. You absolutely must always be kind to him and show him respect.

What exactly did I do?

-I taught one of his drivers how to check APU hours. So that's one less hassle my DM has to deal with.

-I taught one of his drivers how to greatly improve his fuel mileage. This benefits my DM because having these poor performers makes him look bad.

-I was completely cool with him forgetting about my hometime, even though the average driver would probably flip out.

He probably likes me a whole lot more after today.

There comes one thing with experience and knowledge. That is learning to recognize your opportunities to make a great impression. This could have gone south, but instead, him forgetting my hometime actually turned out to greatly benefit me.

I can't stress enough how important this is. To the four people reading this, I hope you might have learned something! I have to drive now. But I will update this thread later in the day.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

RL P.'s Comment
member avatar
but he also said that he didn't think the others would make it - including this guy.

I understand the lack of mpg etc. and especially being late or not waking up but what is your DM saying... Is that Prime will not keep these drivers around if they cant keep their mpg and other things within some set standards or compnay guide lines?

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Prime will not keep these drivers around if they cant keep their mpg and other things within some set standards or compnay guide lines?

The reality out there is that not very many drivers are what I refer to as top-tier drivers. The guys and gals that always seem to find a way to get the job done safely day in and day out. They figure out how to overcome everything. They have the work ethic, the street smarts, and the will to be the best they can be. The idea of failing at anything is just unacceptable to them.

Look at this guy that Daniel is trying to help....he knows he's not doing well....he knows his dispatcher doesn't like him and the company is on his *ss all the time. He's not learning how to do even the most basic things out there properly. And yet what does he do immediately after Daniel goes out of his way to try to get this guy get going in the right direction and put in a good word for him? He oversleeps and winds up late for his appointment.

What a joke.

This is what a lot of drivers are like. No matter how much you try to teach them, encourage them, scare them, inspire them, or mentor them they just don't get the job done for one reason or another. And honestly, nobody cares what that reason is. Some drivers are simply awesome at what they do, and most aren't. I mean, how in the world can you oversleep when you know your job is on the line and people are going out of their way to try to help you? You're an adult! You're driving an 80,000 pound building on wheels surrounded by minivans full of children every day and yet setting your alarm clock is just beyond your abilities? You just can't muster up enough responsibility to wake up on time to do your job?

Please....

We say it on here all the time.....trucking is performance-based. The drivers that perform, like Daniel & Old School & Redgator and many others here at TruckingTruth - they get the bulk of the workload. They get treated well. They're running so hard most of the time they're begging for a break. But go to TheTruckersReport and read all of the whining and crying that goes on over there from the drivers who can't get miles, aren't being treated well, and think everyone is out to get them. Nothing is their fault of course....at least not anything they'll actually admit to. But in the end, they're just like this guy Daniel is trying to help. For whatever reason they just don't get the job done out there.

Prime is no different than any other company in one respect - they'll give the bulk of the miles, their best equipment, and the special favors to the drivers that deserve it. The ones who have actually proven themselves to be hard working, safe, reliable drivers with a great attitude. And the rest of the drivers? They'll get the leftovers....if there are any. And if not, they'll have plenty of time to cry about it and blame others while they're waiting on their next load and slandering their company at TheTruckersReport.

That's the reality in this business. You're either one of the top-tier drivers or you're not. And you've gotta really want it awful bad to achieve that status because there are very few easy days out there. You have to dig deep to muster up the determination to keep pushing yourself and you have to have the patience and the intelligence it takes to continuously make smart decisions out there. Most people just don't have it in them. That's the reality of it.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
RL P.'s Comment
member avatar

Well said Brett,

And for sure the guys inability to wake up on time speaks volumes, especially after some helpful advise and time spent with Daniel. After reading your true account of the state of affairs out there I realize I was really wondering if the guy might be told, ' seems you cant get with the program and its time for you to go'... or if it would be more subtle as in him, for example, sitting in the truck stop with a quiet qualcom and watching the bank account wither away and finding the door himself and heading for 'greener pastures' as they say.

I have a brother who has been on the road 8+ years who echoes you guys here that it is all about the right attitude and work ethic; the "top drivers" getting the job done are rewarded accordingly. And average is simply that and a guy can sit in the truck stop stewing all he wants if he chooses to.

As a side note I got my permit in hand, private school lined up, pre hires from Prime, Con Way (with schooling from both an option) as well as pre hires from some other companies. All courtesy of the sound advise and insights from ALL you guys and gals here.

thank-you-2.gif

Pre Hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Pre Hires:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

but he also said that he didn't think the others would make it - including this guy.

double-quotes-end.png

I understand the lack of mpg etc. and especially being late or not waking up but what is your DM saying... Is that Prime will not keep these drivers around if they cant keep their mpg and other things within some set standards or compnay guide lines?

All companies have guidelines that need to be followed and if people can't or won't then they will find someone who will.

After payroll each week fuel is the single biggest expense a company has and they want to keep that down as much as possible and that means making sure fuel milage is up. Low fuel milage can get a driver in trouble and can even cost them their job.

Welcome to big corporate America where you are the small fish in the ocean. Not doing your job that you are getting paid to do will see you sitting at home looking for another and that includes doing your best to do exactly what your company wants. Can't learn to do that then might want to rethink your job choice.

Trucking is a grand adventure but it's a job first and foremost. Can't do it then no adventure.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I was really wondering if the guy might be told, ' seems you cant get with the program and its time for you to go'... or if it would be more subtle as in him, for example, sitting in the truck stop with a quiet qualcom and watching the bank account wither away and finding the door himself and heading for 'greener pastures' as they say.

That's an interesting question and it can play out a variety of ways. Letting a driver sit is costing the company money. Often times a dispatcher is also graded upon how efficiently her fleet is running, which includes average miles per week for the drivers on her board. So it hurts the company and the dispatcher's paycheck if drivers are sitting around doing nothing. Therefore they might let you sit quite a bit to see if you'll quit and if then find an excuse to let you go if you're perfectly happy doing nothing out there.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Brett and Guyjax aced it.

Let me add one more thing though.

The fuel requirement is a policy. Also, this guy has over a year experience. He went solo out of orientation just like me.

The average starting pay for a fullsize company driver is around .28cpm.

But why does he get paid .43cpm starting pay?

-He drives a Lightweight truck so he saves a lot on fuel costs versus a fullsize truck.

-He can legally transport more weight.

But what you don't know is that its actually rare for us to get a load that a fullsize truck can't handle. About one in every 4 loads would be too heavy for a fullsize truck.

So that just leaves the advantage of saving on fuel. But if he's averaging 6.5 weekly then he's not saving anything on fuel costs. So where's the profit?

There is a reason why companies make these policies and rules. In this case, Prime needs to make sure that its getting a profit. Paying the driver .43cpm digs into their profit - so they try to offset it by having a MPG requirement.

Let me add that achieving 7.5 weekly MPG isn't difficult. Actually, its very easy. I've never had a week at Prime below 7.5 MPG. Also, they keep me in the west. I went to IN once then went back. Since then I haven't ever been east of Omaha, NE. I'm usually in UT, OR, WY very frequently. So that means I've been driving in mountainous terrain during my entire time with Prime. Its not hard. It really isn't. A driver with over a year of experience simply does not have an excuse.

One advantage that I have over him is that if I have a accidnent, it increases the chances of them being much more forgiving to me. They might not immediately fire me and they could give me a second chance. Of course, this all depends on the severity of the accident. However, if this guy does anything wrong then they probably won't see a point in keeping him around. Him scraping his trailer might be the reason they were looking for to get rid of him. But if I do the same thing I will probably keep my job. Of course this depends on many factors.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Current Load: Connell, WA to Rochelle, IL. Dropping this load at Salt Lake City, UT for hometime. 660 Miles pays 293$ Total Weight: 78.5K

Anyways, moving on from that discussion. Great question RL!

My next load was pretty boring. Here's what you need to know:

This load is heavy. Only a LW truck can legally handle it.

I keep in touch with Chris L. often. And I get to meet up with him!

I pick this load up and make sure to tell them to load my drives heavier than my trailer tandems because IL requires a maximum of 12th hole kingpin setting.

I pick up this load and call Chris. Turns out he's about to depart Portland and will be in Boise in the morning. I drove nonstop to Boise, ID. Was an annoying load. Cabbage Hill took forever because I'm very heavy and I really had to be careful through the rest of the mountains.

But I got to Boise, ID in one peace and slept for about 5 hours before Chris had arrived.

We had breakfast at the TA for almost three hours. He is going to be going to Prime's Flatbed division so there was much I had to show him.

After we got done I was just about to get my hours back so I wasted about an hour and then drove to Salt Lake City, UT.

I dropped my trailer at the terminal and relaxed for an hour before I got my new load.

That basically concludes this load. I didn't skip out on anything, didn't sum it up. Some loads are just less interesting than others. Some days you can write a book about, some days only a few paragraphs!

But it was definitely nice to meet another fellow TT member. Jeez, I've just about met everybody here! smile.gifsygma and prime tractor-trailers parked next to each other

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Chris L.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for taking the time to show me your truck. Real cool meeting up with you.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Current Load: Connell, WA to Rochelle, IL. Dropping this load at Salt Lake City, UT for hometime. 660 Miles pays 293$ Total Weight: 78.5K

Anyways, moving on from that discussion. Great question RL!

My next load was pretty boring. Here's what you need to know:

This load is heavy. Only a LW truck can legally handle it.

I keep in touch with Chris L. often. And I get to meet up with him!

I pick this load up and make sure to tell them to load my drives heavier than my trailer tandems because IL requires a maximum of 12th hole kingpin setting.

I pick up this load and call Chris. Turns out he's about to depart Portland and will be in Boise in the morning. I drove nonstop to Boise, ID. Was an annoying load. Cabbage Hill took forever because I'm very heavy and I really had to be careful through the rest of the mountains.

But I got to Boise, ID in one peace and slept for about 5 hours before Chris had arrived.

We had breakfast at the TA for almost three hours. He is going to be going to Prime's Flatbed division so there was much I had to show him.

After we got done I was just about to get my hours back so I wasted about an hour and then drove to Salt Lake City, UT.

I dropped my trailer at the terminal and relaxed for an hour before I got my new load.

That basically concludes this load. I didn't skip out on anything, didn't sum it up. Some loads are just less interesting than others. Some days you can write a book about, some days only a few paragraphs!

But it was definitely nice to meet another fellow TT member. Jeez, I've just about met everybody here! smile.gifyr1m.jpg

Except me. I very rarely see a Pinkle Prime truck but when I do I get on the radio and yell out "Is that you Daniel?" Never got an answer yet. But anyway if ya see a Werner truck with 61834 on the side then it's me. If it's night time I am asleep but during the day I always run my radio.

Heading to Portland Or this trip. Will be there about 10 am or so.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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